Your car is no different for having a regular check-up, just like visiting a dentist or a doctor for a health check or for the sake of staying healthy. If you feel that your vehicle is behaving strangely, making unusual sounds, it’s shaking when you accelerate or squealing when you try to stop. You should pay attention to these signs as these may indicate bigger problems with your car.
Here are a few warning signs that indicate it’s time to schedule a service checkup
1. Flashing Check Engine Light
This is a major sign that something is wrong within any of the hundreds of systems that your car’s computer monitors. A normal illuminated check engine light is not a cause for panic, but instead, an indicator that you should have your engine checked sooner than later.
But when the little light on your dash that resembles an engine-looking symbol (it’s often yellow or red) is flashing, it means you need to have the engine checked immediately. It could be an emissions system problem, which may damage the vehicle that is driven without being repaired.
2. Vehicle Stalling
Stalling is another major sign that requires your attention. If your vehicle stalls once, it may not seem a big deal. But if it stalls at pivotal moments like busy intersections, or on the highway you may find yourself in a dangerous situation. Staling can happen due to many reasons like a bad spark plug or a clogged oil filter. These issues can be prevented and treated with regular maintenance. Due to its potential dangers, you should do everything to make sure your vehicle is in good working condition.
3. Noises while driving
A dragging or droning noise may be coming from your wheels, either in the front or the back, and could be a wheel bearing or differential bearing going bad. A grinding or squealing noise when slowing down is probably your brakes and will need to be checked. It can also be caused by a failing belt, a bad water pump, or something else altogether. Any rattle, squeal, or other unusual noise coming from your engine could indicate a serious issue. It’s best to have your vehicle looked at as soon as possible if you hear something suspicious.
4. Fluid Leakage
If you notice any major leaks underneath your car on the ground where you normally park, especially if any of the above symptoms are occurring, take it to your mechanic as soon as possible.
Usually, toward the front of the car, you’ll want to look for bright green (coolant) or dark red/brown (transmission oil, engine oil, or brake fluid). As a side note, in the summer months with the air conditioner running, there will be fresh water dripping from the front near the passenger side, this is normal.
5. Excessive Vibration
Is always a red flag. During braking, vibrations may mean that your rotors or brake pads are worn. If you feel shaking while accelerating, it could signal a failing universal joint or worn or unbalanced tires.
6. Reduced Fuel mileage
If you feel like you are visiting the gas station more frequently even though you are doing the same distance. That means you are getting a few miles from a gallon of gas. It is up to you to determine why it is happening so. The fuel economy of your car depends on many factors including the efficiency of your emission system, smooth operation of your engine, and your driving style. This problem could be like improper tyres pressure, poor wheel alignment, and many others. As it indicates many problems, it is necessary that you take your car for a tune-up when you notice a decline in fuel mileage.
7. Soft or Noisy Brakes
Brakes are important for a vehicle. They need to be strong and functional to be effective. Brakes are supposed to bring you to a stop quietly, without too much exertion. If you are feeling rhythmic vibration when braking there is a good chance there is something wrong. In the same way, if the brake pad that used to be ‘soft’ now requires a lot of leg power it means it requires the attention of an auto repair professional. Some problems could be solved by simply replacing brake pads, rotors, and brake fluid.
Being able to tell if a problem with your vehicle is serious and in need of immediate service can save you time and hassle. If you’re experiencing one or more of these warning signs, take it to your trusted mechanic or shop.